Biology

How Many Hearts Do Sharks Have

All animals living on the planet possess different organs which are a group of similar tissues performing specific functions. These organs collectively form an organ system!

Heart – the pumping organ forms the cardiovascular system! The working of the cardiovascular system in sharks is the same as in human beings. The basic function of the heart is to provide nutrients, metabolic products where needed and transport oxygen to all the organs and systems of the body.

There are many perceptions regarding the numbers of shark’s hearts. People predict that they may have 2 or 3 hearts but no one knows the actual number? Did you know how many hearts a shark has?  No idea! Don’t worry! We are going to take a deep analysis of shark’s anatomy to reveal the number of shark’s hearts! Do you want to join us? Let’s begin then!

Do sharks have 2 hearts?

No! Sharks do not have 2 hearts in fact they have two chambered hearts with a single circulatory system. The heart pumps blood towards gills for oxygenation, after that, the oxygen rich blood is transported to all the tissues and organs of the body and returns the deoxygenated blood back to heart.

How many hearts do sharks have?

The answer is – only one! The system consists of a one but two chambered heart, veins (which carries blood towards the heart), the arteries (which carries blood away from the heart) and small thin capillaries. The sharks have S shaped tube like heart structures and are of very small size as compared to the size of other giant creatures.

How does the circulatory system of sharks work?

Sharks have a single but closed circulatory system which is centred around a two chambered single heart. Blood via arteries flows from heart to the gills for oxygenation, after that, the oxygenated blood then moves from gills to the other parts of the body and in return the deoxygenated blood is collected from the body and flows back to heart for the next cycle.

How does the shark’s heart work?

Sharks possess a single circulatory system with a two chambered heart (an atrium and a ventricle). Firstly, the heart pumps the blood via arteries toward the gills where the oxygenation of blood is completed. After that, the oxygenated blood is transported to the rest of the body organs and tissues. In return, the deoxygenated blood is collected from all over the body and is sent back to the heart via sinus venosus. With every beat of the heart, the blood moves from atrium to ventricle and then to the conus arteriosus (a blood collecting tank) where it is collected for further processing and the cycle is repeated.

Why do sharks pump blood towards gills?

For oxygenation of the blood! The heart of sharks pumps blood towards gills because the circulatory and respiratory system of sharks are closely related. The heart first pumps the deoxygenated blood towards the gills by the afferent branchial arteries where the blood is oxygenated with the excess of oxygen extracted from the water flowing over the gills. After oxygenation, the blood flows back, passes through body tissues and returns to the heart via veins.

Sharks have slow blood flow – why?

Sharks have very slow blood flow because the walls of pericardium (the membrane which encloses the heart) is very hard and tough which creates a pressure within the wall to maintain the blood pressure. To maintain the flow of blood, sharks are always found swimming in the extended oceans just to circulate the flow of blood all over the body.

Well, that’s all about the shark’s heart! We have studied in this article that the pumping organ of sharks is similar in function to the human’s heart! Right! Now, we are going to highlight some of the dissimilarities between the cardiovascular systems of sharks and humans – just for your knowledge! Here we go!

Dissimilarities between sharks and humans cardiovascular system

Following are the enlisted difference between the sharks and humans cardiovascular system:

  • Sharks have 2 chambered hearts whereas humans have 4 chambered hearts.
  • Humans are warm blooded creatures whereas sharks are cold blooded animals! Sharks can regulate their body temperature according to the water temperature whereas humans are not dependent upon surrounding conditions.
  • Humans do not need to be in continuous motion to circulate the flow of blood in the body whereas you will always find sharks in motion because they circulate blood in the body by swimming.
  • Humans have high blood pressure as compared to sharks so we can easily maintain our body temperature.
  • The circulatory system of sharks is in coordination with the respiratory system whereas in humans no such combination exists.

Final words

Sharks have one – two chambered hearts along with a single circuit closed circulatory system. The heart of sharks is S- shaped tube like structure which provides nutrients and oxygen to all the tissues and organs of the body – just like the human heart works! However, the circulatory system of sharks is coordinated with the respiratory system. The heart pumps blood to the gills for oxygenation and then transports it to all over the body! That’s all about the shark’s heart! Hope that you have learnt much more about shark’s anatomy by reading this article!

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